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Abolishing the 11-plus.

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Mathsteach2, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    The prime minister of Barbados (her party, the BLP had a clean sweep in the General Election last year) has this week delivered a very strong speech saying her government is going to abolish the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination. We hold on to a system introduced by the English in the 1940's and it has got to go, she said. It is totally wrong to write off the majority of our children at 11 years old.
    She is appointing a minister to oversee the process of change. Can anyone give any advice?!! BTW, corporal punishment is up for abolition as well. She thinks zoning will be used, all state secondary schools will ultimately be seen to be as good as each other. Private schools, I guess, will continue to flourish.
    JL48 and schoolsout4summer like this.
  2. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    It will be a disaster, like it has been here.
  3. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Many thanks for your opinion, sabram86, and I do respect it. However, being only an opinion, and there will be others who agree with you, there will also be others who think it has worked.
    It may become a major issue in the next general election but in the meantime we are going to have an informed discussion. I wait to see what others have to say here and I would like to communicate our discussion with all Barbadians through the local media. Is that a good idea?
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    FWIW I taught in both selective ('grammar') schools and also comprehensives, and one of my children went to a selective school, the other to a comprehensive (or more accurately a 'secondary modern' as the top 25% of the ability range had been selected). I was not teaching when most grammars were turned into comprehensives (by that well known advocate of the comprehensive system, Margaret Thatcher when Education secretary!)

    I found, generally, selective schools were easier to teach in than comprehensives for me (not all teachers I worked with did, though), but a comprehensive, if run properly, could be as good as a selective school as far as the pupil outcomes were concerned. I'd be worried by the comment that 'all state secondary schools will ultimately be seen to be as good as each other'...That's a fallacy, IMHO. As is the idea that this change will save money...I suspect it won't. ;)

    PS The comment about corporal punishment is staggering - this is the 21st Century: there is no place for state sanctioned assaults in any school system... :mad:
    phlogiston likes this.
  5. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    Oh dear, an angry "smiley". I await the avenging gods.

    Corporal punishment, I would argue, is preferable to the drugging of children and the immoral use of flattery, lies and bribery to contain them. All of these are worse than the cane or the slipper.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I have always believed that anyone who beats children does it because of the pleasure they derive from it... And those who sanction it likewise.

    As for 'drugging' - presumably you mean drugs prescribed by a doctor... In which case, take that up with the medical profession. No school is involved.

    The "the immoral use of flattery, lies and bribery to contain them" - what's immoral by flattery? Or other words of encouragement? And 'bribery'...well I never paid a pupil to behave..Have you? o_O

    I suspect you are wither a troll or a very odd person indeed...;)
    Sally006 and phlogiston like this.
  7. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    You beat me to it, Frank Wolley! I was going to tell sabram86 that I now know your position, you are a dying breed and I can assuredly ignore your posts even if you post something helpful about the abolition of the 11-plus. Thank you for your post Frank, what do you think about my idea of telling the local media about this thread?
  8. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    Ah yes, all those who disagree are moral degenerates! Burn the heretics!

    What all of the things I pointed to do is avoid reality. If children are systematically protected from reality, they will have a very sharp shock when they finally encounter it, whether through struggling in the world of work, or, more seriously, in prison.

    Why do you we kowtow to the experts? Have we forgotten Kant's words (What is Enlightenment?, 1784):

    “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! [dare to know] “Have courage to use your own understanding!”–that is the motto of enlightenment.

    Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a proportion of men, long after nature has released them from alien guidance, nonetheless gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians. It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them (including the entire fair sex) regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the go-cart to which they are harnessed, these guardians then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts."​
  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I was a history teacher, but TBH, I'm yet to be convinced that there is much from the 18th C that we need to listen to as regards education.

    I notice that you don't actually defend your preference for hitting children... Very wise, I suggest.

    Here is a serious word of advice - if you are actually a teacher in the UK (I rather doubt that you are), then I suggest that you keep your views to yourself, because I suspect that you'd soon be banned from teaching if they become known. But feel free to ignore my advice...it may be better for schools in the long run!:D
    Sally006 and phlogiston like this.
  10. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Wow, sabram86, I feel as if I have just unlocked your cage where you have been lying dormant for some time! I said I was going to ignore your posts, but I could not resist this one.
    I also think you are being somewhat lazy by writing a long quotation from Kant instead of saying something useful about the 11-plus yourself.
  11. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Not sure, TBH. I suspect there is little new here, but it is up to you, of course.

    BTW There have been a number of other threads on 'selection' on TES, esp. in this forum...might be worth searching them out, and looking for further comments, then 'cutting & pasting' relevant posts.
  12. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Surely the 11+ has been redundant in this country since they introduced KS2 SATs?
  13. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    To be honest, I always felt that we just replaced the 11+ with the 15+ (aka GCSEs). Even then, many schools set by abillity or stream, so once you hit about 13, there is very little mixing between the most academically gifted and the rest.
  14. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Not as far as selection in counties such as Kent and Lincolnshire which still have grammar schools are concerned...Though it isn't really 'the 11+' any more, it is a mixture of types of tests.

    Having worked in a number of selective schools, most used 'Verbal Reasoning' tests, some also used 'Non-Verbal Reasoning' tests and/or Mathematics. Only a few used English - and then that was normally only used in cases of appeal for borderline candidates. Mind you I retired in 2013, and so the type of test used may have changed since then.
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    @blazer. Absolutely, and because of its redundancy (obsolescence?) in the UK I was wondering if there could be a contribution from the UK to our discussion here in Barbados? Mia Mottley, our present PM, has only just this week opened up the debate.
    @FrankWolley. Many thanks for your suggestion, I am, of course, being very lazy. Such a search and cut and paste might be beyond me with my poor health in my old age, but I hope to try. I have not picked up any response here, yet, to our PM's speech. Knowing Barbadians, it will be quite hot, as it is over CP in schools, which was why I mentioned it as a side issue, to paint a little of the culture here. We still have it!!
  16. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    @JL48. The 16+ examinations here in the Caribbean are called CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate). The syllabi for all subjects are the same for all schools across the Caribbean, and the examinations are sat at the same moments. That will not change, and schools will be judged by parents as good or bad by the results of their students. I am sure this will be addressed in each school mostly by streaming the classes. Mixed ability teaching in the classroom is not easy, and most teachers are not trained nor able to do it (none in Barbados).
  17. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    My experience has been that most of the school leavers with whom I have worked, have adapted quite well to the world of work. The problem round here is more a shortage of work and the difficulty of getting to places where there is work,
    The only exception has been with the restless young men who have joined the Army. I've known a couple. One returned a few weeks after starting Muttering about "not liking it and something unintelligible about the officers". Another one is now happily driving lorries, having hit a sergeant and found his service employment foreshortened.
    I will admit (as I'm sure many others will) to having had moments of wondering whether a child would benefit from corporal punishment, but that was always a heat of the moment idea and would have worked against the long term maturation of the young person.
  18. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Not in areas with selective grammar schools. The Kent (Grammar School) Test for example. The only difference between that and the old 11+ is that no child has to do the Kent Test, only if the parents want them to (ie only if the parents want them to get a grammar school place).

    agathamorse likes this.
  19. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    The 11+ in Lincolnshire is also optional. You don't have to sit it unless you want to attend the grammar schools.
    install likes this.
  20. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    I have always had mixed feelings about this. I think that in order to understand the impact of the 11+ you really need to experience what it was like to be in a proper secondary modern school.

    I passed the 11+ but for reasons of moving across county lines I lost my place and ended up in an SM. It was a working class SM and very much an SM. Now I am half a century older and I still feel the impact of that school. The impact was on my education and it left me with massive black holes in my knowledge and understanding when I went onto A level. But it was not just that it was also the ethos and the culture of the school which left me without confidence and without aspiration . I went from that school with my clutch of CSE's ( nine of them in fact, all grade 1 and three "O " levels , all top grades , the only three "O" Levels I was allowed to take - Maths, English Language and General Science) to take A levels but on arrival in the grammar school I was told I could not take the subjects of my choice because my CSE's were not good enough ( being only in parity of "O" level at the lowest grade on a good day! I had been lied to again about coming out at 16 on a par with grammar school pupils. The salt was rubbed in when I found pupils in Sixth Form who had but two poor "O" levels and were taking A levels in subjects I had been refused - mainly because they had to take those subjects or nothing. I was never going to be good enough and that was made clear.

    I went to an FE College and took my A levels but they didn't have the range, so again I was disadvantaged. But the disadvantage was broader than that, I lacked basic things like languages or Latin or even just an understanding of basic classical music etc. Its hard to explain exactly what I didnt have. I vowed to teach myself all the missing things and did so. Now, most people would never guess in a million years that I had an SM education. I outstrip my grammar school colleagues and most think I had an education at a top private school ( I did teach in one once a long time ago and that was an education too). Then I got married and went to more lowly things. Ha Ha.

    I also feel the impact of the false promise - I was promised that I could take the 13+ and go to grammar school but I was never allowed to take the 13+ because they abolished it on the grounds that those who were passing it before I got there could not transfer because there were no places to give them as the places were allocated . There was never a policy to remove the over tutored over confident, too slow to catch cold and couldn't keep up with grammar school curriculum from the grammar school to let the like of me in.

    So that was that.

    However, I do not like Comprehensives. My experience of them is that they are nothing more than SM's dressed up. They do not give the standard of education I saw being given at a grammar school in my day. I have eventually come to the conclusion that the selective system is better and hence will put my own kids in for it. If they dont get in I will try them for private school entrance tests to a selective independent and suck on the cost. Not everyone can do that of course and that is the pity. The thing is, when it is your own kids you start to care more.
    agathamorse likes this.

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